Veterans in Engineering, Technology, and the Sciences (V.E.T.S.) was officially launched in 2017 by Steve Culver and Jacob Tolbert. This program connects veterans, military, and non-traditional students to STEM programs. V.E.T.S. president, Rick Lowry, is on hand when incoming veterans start their journey at TCU. Lowry organizes events and is the main point of contact for anyone who has questions about joining.
“The program allows for a sense of comradery with one another that is lost when separating from the military. The program's purpose is to provide a resource to veterans to help them deal with the transition from military to college life. We also try to foster friendship with each other through participating in organizational events and getting involved with the campus and community,” Lowry says.
After fighting overseas, 92% of veterans say they want to continue their service when they take off the uniform. STEM careers offer veterans an opportunity to serve their community. Veterans and non-traditional students have skills and unique experiences that will benefit their respective fields, but they face challenges in their education, including familial obligations, additional work responsibilities, and the difficulties normally faced by adult learners. Compared to traditional students, many veteran and non-traditional students struggle to transition into college and adjust to the demands of highly-technical STEM programs.
In addition to initiatives to assist veterans in STEM programs, V.E.T.S. is focused on academic advising, internships, networking, and peer support. Connecting with other veterans who are also struggling through difficult degree programs has given students in the program the motivation to push past hardship together, forging similar bonds they had during their years of service.
V.E.T.S. is open to any TCU student veteran. It is not just for STEM majors. “If any veteran or non-traditional student needs a place to study or relax when they are around the Tucker Technology building, they can stop by anytime. If they would like to be notified of events that they might be interested in, they can email me, and I will add them to the V.E.T.S. email list,” Lowry says.